Highlights of 2018

This is a summary of my birding and wildlife highlights of 2018

New bird species and my year list total

My year list this year has reached a record total of 173 bird species and I have seen 17 (possibly 18) new species: Red-throated Diver (Spurn), Curlew Sandpiper (Spurn), Red-necked Phalarope (Rutland Water), Grey Phalarope (Old Moor RSPB), Green Sandpiper (Willington GP), Spotted Redshank (Old Moor RSPB), Mediterranean Gull (Spurn), Sandwich Tern (Spurn), Arctic Skua (Spurn), Nightjar (Thetford), Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Renishaw Gardens), Red-backed Shrike (Spurn), Waxwing (Buxton), Garden Warbler (Williamthorpe GP), Yellow Wagtail (Spurn), Hawfinch (Kingsley) and Common Rosefinch (Spurn).  The 18th new species was a possible Black Guillemot on the coast of Arisaig.

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Bird ringing 

I started training to ring in February with Geoff Mawson.  Since then I have self ringed 41 species and seen many more in the hand.  Some of my personal favourite species have been Kingfisher, Kestrel, both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Whinchat, Stonechat, Dipper, Fieldfare, Redwing, Jay, Magpie and Redstart.  We have also ringed twice in our garden.  In spring I’m hoping to ring chicks in nests and nest boxes.

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Local patch

This year I have seen several new bird species on my local patch.  These include Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Teal, Tufted Duck, Green Woodpecker, Peregrine and most recently Brambling.  Another highlight has been seeing Badgers in our garden.  We’ve been able to record a total of 56 moth species this year including 40 macros and 16 micros.  Hopefully our list total will increase when I use the moth trap I got for Christmas.  We also had several Southern Hawker dragonflies hatch out in our pond and we also had Large Red and Azure Damselflies mating.

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General highlights

The highlight of 2018 for me was going to my first BTO Birdcamp where I saw lots of amazing species including Nightjar.  We also participated in a Bioblitz at Prees Heath in Shropshire which was part of Chris Packham’s Bioblitz campaign.  I was also a finalist for the Spurn Young Birder of the Year competition.

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Four-spotted chaser

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Overall, 2018 has been a brilliant year and hopefully 2019 will be even better!